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Reach Elbrus, reach the heart of Georgia

Author: Ksenia Usovich, Russia, Saint-Petersburg.
Teamleader: Maryna Ruban
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The feeling that this adventure will be successful, appeared after the first meeting with the guide Marina in the hostel Old Lviv (special bonus) in Kutaisi - cheerful and interesting girl. Until then, of course, were doubts and uncertainty, because I am distrustful of commercial trekking: it seems that often the organizers are more important revenue than safety of participants. But I had little choice.

I wanted to go to Georgia in September, the tickets were already bought, and I also wanted to go hiking, and my friends were studying and were not ready to keep me company, but I initially had an egoistic desire to create my own personal memories of Georgia and not share them with anyone: something told me that it was necessary to get acquainted with Georgia by myself. I wrote about my intention to participate 4-5 days in advance and was very happy that there was an empty seat. I chose the hike, first of all, by the dates. At the same time there was a trek across Svaneti from another club. But I was more impressed with the contents of Megrelia: total isolation from civilization, a concentration on natural sights, not architectural. The only thing I feared was that this trip would be neutral in terms of sports. For me, hiking is also an opportunity to get a great muscle pumping. But, I'll tell you right away, the worry was in vain.

I was apprehensive about meeting the participants. As it turned out, Marina is not the only wonderful person I get to meet. The whole group looked great: we became a big family in 6.5 days. Perhaps the perfect weather that accompanied us to the very last day warmed up our relationship. Or maybe it was the mighty mountains and the difficulties of the passes that brought us closer. But the people are what this trip was rich with, along with the incredible scenery.

As for the latter: there was plenty of it. The level of difficulty of the hike and the pace, which was skillfully maintained by Marina, allowed us to stop and look around as often as we wanted. And so you go and try to remember everything, take photos and take them with you, but, of course, it is impossible to depict it on the photo: only by watching it live!

On the first day we spent the night in the village of Mukhuri, in the house of a local resident, a very kind-hearted woman. The second day we met the first shepherd on our way, who hospitably treated us to cottage cheese. Fresh air, fresh dairy products, daily bathing in icy lakes and rivers, daily walking up and down to 1000m a day - an excellent health-improving course for any fighter. There was a successful campfire, which helped a lot to warm up from the cold evening mountain air, as well as to tune in to a conversational (or soulful) mood. Further on - the lake Ohoja. Of unearthly beauty. We organized evening and morning walk to the waterfall with photo session in dresses for the part of the group. Ahead of us was a pass with a difficult descent. So difficult that here and there we even had to use free climbing. But it was worth it! The next point of the route is Lake Tobavarchili. Then there was a radial exit to another small pass with a view of the Caucasus Range and Mount Elbrus. This place is the one where you want to stop for a while, tending to infinity. The two peaks persistently beckoned to us. But we had many more plans. Elbrus, maybe we will get to know each other better, but that's another story. 

As we passed the next section of the route along the waterfall Marina told us (by the way, she often told us something interesting) about the glaciers that many, many years ago were in place of this river, this valley and this very waterfall. After a couple of kilometers, the landscape changes unexpectedly quickly: we wade through many rivers (sometimes even wading, which will soon become commonplace for us) and find ourselves in a forest. On the way we pick wild raspberries and blueberries: another point of recuperation. Tired, we are greeted by new shepherds: we will spend a lot of time talking with them. And off we go again! The forest becomes tropical: lots of ferns as tall as people. Our last overnight stay is a house overlooking a mountain. Our last overnight stay was in the warmth under the roof. Next day and our last river - we stay here for a long time. Allowable luxury - we won't have a driver waiting for us in Skuri anytime soon. There's time to climb the cobblestones coming out of the water: another waterslide. So sorry to leave! And so want to stay!

Overall, once again I say a big thank you to Marina for what she so skillfully managed with us, took into account our wishes, rationally allocated the load, ensured maximum security and in general was kind, cheerful and happy. Marina is a person with great hiking experience and love for what she does.

The route itself is wonderful: Megrelia is beautiful and majestic. In some places it was difficult, but how interesting and great! Crossings, a little bit of climbing, scree, glaciers. It is worth it! However, trekking poles during the trip are just necessary. Thanks to the Kuluar Club for the opportunity.

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